Part 1: Traumatic Brain Injury: It's just a concussion.
December 1, 2017
Concussions are weird. You look "healthy" you want to feel healthy but then there's these roadblocks that come from nowhere. I was just like you, I didn't really understand what a concussion was let alone what it meant to have one. I literally told my students "don't worry, I'll just be irritable for a couple of days and then I'll be fine". Except it's now 4 months later and I'm not fine. I mean I'm doing ok, better than I was but I'm not "ME" yet.
The hardest part of my journey has been stepping back, stepping back from everything that I love and am passionate about. Not that things can define us, but dancing, performing, public speaking, being busy these were all things that people associated with me and I LOVED every moment of it. Only now... I can't. That ugly word "Can't" I'm trying don't get me wrong, I want to be better, to be full of beans and endless energy but it's just not there yet.
I feel the number one issue with saying you have a concussion is that it doesn't account for the severity of the injury. A Concussion is a Traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. It affects us all so very differently and something I learnt is that it the magnitude of the impact doesn't necessarily correlate to the magnitude of the symptoms suffered. Like any injury there are variables - severity and symptoms. Although the impact that caused my injury didn't seem that big [yes it hurt, a LOT but I didn't think it was THAT bad] the extensiveness of my symptoms have been unfathomable. It seems it's not always just about the impact of the hit to the head, but rather a combination of force and positioning. I managed to hit the "sweet spot" and because I had no idea what a concussion really entailed, continued to dance/work and perform full out 16hr days+ throughout my symptoms. I had an excuse for every one: I feel nausea because I must have eaten something that didn't agree. I have a headache, I must be dehydrated. I'm crying at loud noises and bright lights because my blood sugar level is crashing. I'm stumbling over words and can't figure out basic math because I have so much going on my head is full, and on and on. I just kept pushing through because I had NO IDEA what it meant to have a concussion. When my husband finally saw my symptoms first hand: we were at the bank and I couldn't make conversation with the teller, I simply repeated her words back to her - those that know me know I'm a chatty Cathy and pretty proud of my ability to make small talk. That coupled with my panic at asking for fifty dollars in change of toonies and thinking that it wasn't possible because two doesn't go into five! He suggested I might be concussed.
Finally a reason for my odd behaviour and this surreal feeling of being underwater [not to mention the tears]. I went to rehearsal and announced that I would probably just be a little grouchy for a couple of days but don't worry about it, it will pass.